Chapter 1298: Golden Fingers
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Sihwa repeatedly expressed her enthusiasm for the rest to eat the fish. She invited Zhang Zian and the others to eat. She claimed that the fish had had too much sun and had heat stroke. She did not seem to have given much thought to whether the fish agreed with her.
Although Zhang Zian had never eaten a lungfish before, he really wanted to know how it tasted and if it had thorns on its skin. He’d never had the chance to taste such an expensive delicacy. Thus, to him, eating this fish would be like eating money!
In order to adapt to the changing environment in Africa, ancient fish had evolved a unique means of survival. When the environment was dry, they would dig holes in the soil and use mud and secreted mucus to form a protective shell to prevent water loss. Only a thin tube in their mouth was used to breathe.
Although they had lungs, they still needed to emerge from the water every half an hour to breathe. Otherwise, they would die.
How long a lungfish could survive in such a semi-mummified state depended on how dry it was. If it was extremely dry, once the spring had completely evaporated, it would become dried fish within half a year.
However, lungfish were generally found in rivers and lakes in central and southern Africa. It was rare to find them in North Africa. It might have been that the underground spring that formed this small oasis was a small artery that flowed through central Africa. Some groundwater occasionally flowed here, bringing with it some lungfish eggs. They would hatch here given the right combination of environmental factors.
When Zhang Zian was filling his containers with water, he also noticed that there were some unknown fish in the water. Some fish had no eyes. They might also be fish that had come here via the groundwater artery. When an earthquake struck and shifted the entire landscape, the artery was cut off and changed direction. Slowly, without a feeder and end to deposit the water, the water slowly emerged from the ground to form an oasis.
This lungfish must have fed on small fish to grow to such a size. He was also fairly certain that there were no other lungfish in the lake, as there would not be enough food to support a second one.
The lungfish that was pressed under the luggage rack still did not give up its struggle. When it realized that it could no longer move forward, it tried digging a hole in an attempt to escape.
The pair of long beards on its face were actually evolved fins. They had evolved so that the lungfish could better dig holes in the ground. Although the beards were similar in look to those on ornamental fish, their usage was entirely different. In addition, their flexibility and strength were highly different as well.
Zhang Zian stared at the lungfish that was trying to escape with reverence. The fish had a strong desire to survive.
Instead of leaving it to fend for itself, it would be better to bring it back to the pet shop to raise it. At least then the fish would not have to depend on the random nature of the desert for food.
In addition, the vultures nearby were also a serious threat to it. When it came up to the surface for air, it could easily be grabbed, so that it would become a bird’s next meal.
It was such a lonely lungfish. Alone, it could not breed. In addition, its own safety was in question as well.
If it was the Australian lungfish, as listed in the Washington Convention, Zhang Zian would not dare bring it back to China. If he did so, he would have to surrender it to the authorities for proper care and maintenance. However, the long-legged lungfish was only on the IUCN’s red list as a non-endangered species. Thus, it would not be a problem to bring it home.
The long-legged lungfish were labeled as non-endangered, not because their numbers were abundant, but because it was difficult to determine their actual numbers in the wild. These fish lived occasionally in the mud and occasionally in the water. How easy was it to count them? Besides, when hungry Africans managed to dig these fish out of the mud, they would cook and eat them. Naturally, their numbers would also come down.
He took the lungfish by its tail and pulled it out of the sand like a radish. The irritated lungfish used its strong muscles to twist its body into a U shape and tried to bite him.
The lungfish was usually very gentle, but when threatened, it could become extremely hostile. The teeth of an adult lungfish were strong enough to rip off an entire human finger.
Fortunately, he was prepared. Once he pulled the fish out, he threw it back onto the ground. Then he took out his mobile phone and put it inside. This could count as a national souvenir from Africa.
Back at the pet shop, he would put it in the aquarium during the day to attract shoppers. At night, he would observe its behavior—it was said that Zhang Sanfeng observed the turtles and snakes fighting in order to create the art of Tai Chi. Perhaps he could, through observing the lungfish, dig his way into the adult film industry. Then, every day, he could see the world with beautiful ladies from all over. He would dedicate his life to this endeavor. Perhaps one day, he could truly be a legend and overtake all the masters who’d come before him…
That would be legendary!
Of course, the elfins didn’t know what he was thinking. They weren’t that interested in eating this fish either. In addition, there was no seasoning around to enhance its taste. A simple roast without any onions would probably not taste too good.
Sihwa tried hard to feed everyone, but Zhang Zian simply kept the fish away. She was angry and used a few swear words with him. She then started her livestream. However, she realized that she had no wireless network connection. She had to rely on video recording to replace her live broadcast. In her recording, she showed off her oasis, claiming that only the ultra-rich got to enjoy this special lifestyle. She intended to upload this once she got back to civilization.
Now that they’d determined that the lake held no danger, Fina took a bath in the shallow water and washed away the contaminated sand on her fur. She did so without any shower gel. After emerging from the lake, she shook off the water droplets on her fur. Then she squatted by the palm leaves to bask in the sun.
The advantage of taking a bath in the desert was that one didn’t have to use a hair dryer. Staying out in the sun for a while, one could get very dry very quickly.
Then came Snowy Lionet. Perhaps it had heat stroke or had gotten too excited observing Fina’s bath. It looked highly animated, with big eyes and tongue sticking out. Zhang Zian had no choice but to return it to the phone and let it calm down inside.
He also wanted to take a bath, but after all, he was a man with morality and status. He was unwilling to strip naked and jump in the water in broad daylight. Besides, Richard the noisy bird was still around. He did not want him to watch and speak of this incident in the future.
Anyway, he was not in a hurry. He put all the water-filled containers in the car, and then he ate and drank until he was full. He rested for a full day in the oasis.
The next morning, Zhang Zian, who had bathed in the middle of the night, greeted the arrival of dawn with a radiant smile. His symptoms of heat stroke had completely subsided due to adequate drinking water.
He ushered the elfins into the car before reluctantly bidding this oasis goodbye. He took down the coordinates of the oasis. He would give this to Salem as a gift—as a desert guide, he might be able to use this to start a unique tourist route and earn money. It could also double up as a source of supplies if anything happened.
Now, he could finally leave the desert without stopping.